There is no definitive answer as to who the original or official inventor was of escape room games. What is clear is that their inspiration came from computer games based on puzzles and escape scenarios.
'Real life' escape games originated in Silicon Valley by a group of system programmers in 2006. The 'Japan Times' reported that the creator of these games was Takao Kato of Scrap Publishing.
His inspiration came from reading lots of Manga.
The known games started in Hong Kong back in 2006. By 2008, escape rooms could be found all over Asia. Most notably, the company Scraps opened the first ones in Tokyo, Japan, in 2008.
Soon after, they were operating in Taiwan, Singapore and Indonesia.
Europe saw their first escape rooms open in Hungary back in 2012 by the group ParaPark. Its creator, Hungarian Attila Gyurkovics, realised that the most captivating aspects of the online games could be converted into a live game, with people being challenged to escape from a physical room.
The only changes from the online games were the addition of a time limit of an hour to escape the room and a multi-player option. A team of up to five people could play the game at once – a necessity to solve the number of puzzles.
It didn’t take long for Attila’s idea to be duplicated and the idea spread across the rest of Hungary and the rest of Europe; the first UK escape room opening in London in 2012.
Creator of real life escape games Takao Kato [photo credit: Real Escape Game Co.]